2014 Adult Poetry 3

Rufus Skeens

Little Imperfections


The meadow’s ridge hunches its back against the sky like a brindled dog

ready to shake itself dry of last night’s storm. Alfalfa, oat, and fescue wag long green tongues

at fog’s condensation, their edges sharp as razor blades. No footpath


remains here past the stiff bristles who bent once under pressure, yet

now stand upright. Even the wind staggers through in measured exhalations,

combing cornrows across a field that stubbornly pulls itself back


into the fodder’s tangled mop. A man could lie here, flat on his back—seeking perfection—

until the crow came to render Last Rites and cornflower sprouted from his eye sockets.

Go ahead. Ask. What is the skull, emptied of emotion?  A round stone waiting


for the slow barge of a cow’s misstep to send it spinning into the catch pond like a world

gone mad. Ask me and I’ll tell you the soul waits for Jesus to descend on a cloud, even

as a heifer pierces the pond’s cloudy eye with her hooves, urinates in the water as she drinks.


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